Crocodylus Park

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crocodylus Park is a wildlife park about 15km from Darwin.
As the name suggests its main focus is crocodiles. There are other animals
(ostriches, lions, a tiger etc), but crocodiles are the main priority. The good
thing about the place is that there are tours at various times in the day, on
which we were informed about the lives of crocodiles.


Did you know, for example, that a full grown saltie
(weighing approx 600kg – the largest recorded saltie was 6m long and weighed 1300kg) only eats 500g of meat a day? 500 grams! That’s just four quarter
pounders. I could do that before breakfast. So if they barely eat and, as
animal rights activists are always keen to point out, man is the only animal to
kill for reasons other than food, why are crocodiles so feared? If they’ve
(probably) just eaten, they won’t bother you, right? Wrong! Apparently, salties
also kill because they can. If they
show the slightest bit of interest in you, you’re dead meat – and you probably
won’t even be eaten by them! How crap is that?

Besides, just because they’re called salt water crocodiles,
it doesn’t mean they’re restricted to the sea – you can also find them in fresh
water rivers. As you’ll probably have gathered by now, there are also fresh
water crocodiles, but they are much, much smaller than their salt water
cousins. The other distinguishing feature is that they are shy of anything much
bigger than them – like humans. So, if you’re in a water hole and you see a
crocodile, be aware that if it’s swimming away from you it’s a fresh water croc
and really means you no harm, but if it’s swimming towards you, say your
prayers.

But hold on, here’s
the kicker; if you see a saltie in
the water, it’s probably not interested in you anyway, the problem lies in the
saltie that you don’t see. Without
exaggeration, if you’re in the water or by the water’s edge, you’ll never know what hit you, although you’ll
probably work it out as it drowns you! That’s another thing about the salties,
they’ve got incredible power in their jaws, when they chomp down on something
their jaws exert up to 6,500 pounds of pressure per square inch.  Let me tell you, that’s got to hurt, but
generally they drag people under the water and implement the infamous death
roll.

Forgive the dissertation on crocodiles, but I suddenly find
them fascinating. Back to Crocodylus Park, it calls itself a research and
education centre, but really I see it as a croc farm with some other animals.
The crocs are kept in small breeding pens, but the really cool thing is feeding
time, then you see them for the monsters they truly are. Back in Alice Springs,
I compared ‘Terry’, their saltie, to Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, however, now I see them for what they are...T-1000s,
the perfect killing machines from Terminator,
the killers that don’t stop, the assassins that murder without a second’s
hesitation. The maxim of the saltie really is “If it moves, kill it.” In fact,
rather unusually, one of the crocodiles there, Eric, had killed three people
and two of his girlfriends – the only reason he was still alive was because the
Aboriginals had declared him sacred and refused to have him killed, although
they did agree to have him removed.  Watching
them be fed you also realise for the first time how fast they are.

Just like at the Reptile Centre in Alice Springs, the
‘highlight’ (and yes, I use the term loosely) was handling a baby fresh water
croc. However, truth be told, after my experience with Angus, the olive python,
this was a piece of cake! In fact it was even enjoyable. Helen refused under
any circumstances to hold it, though she did manage to muster up the courage to
touch it.

Finally after beginning to see crocodiles in a new light,
and possibly even liking them (although still – rightly – scared of them), it was ironic to find that on the way
out in the souvenir shop there were croc skin purses, bags, key rings and belts
for sale! Then to top it all off they had a butchers, selling crocodile meat
packs! Go figure.
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Comments

Gebs on

Hey George, don't get too comfy in those gorgeous billabongs either...... apparently salties like them as much as we do!!!

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